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9781668004555

Outmaneuvered From Vietnam to Iraq to Afghanistan—the Hidden Dangers of the American Way of War

by
  • ISBN13:

    9781668004555

  • ISBN10:

    1668004550

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2025-03-04
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Purchase Benefits
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Summary

From a celebrated military historian, a highly engaging and thought-provoking look at America’s unsuccessful record in irregular wars and military campaigns since the mid-1960s—from Vietnam to Afghanistan.

Since the early 1960s, there have only been twelve years in which American troops have not been in combat, either in a formally declared conflict or otherwise. The vast majority of these have ended in failure, or something close to it. Why has the US been so ineffective, given the fact that the American armed forces are universally recognized as the best in the world? This is the key question James Warren answers here in Outmaneuvered.

Most scholars and analysts believe that the primary cause of our abysmal war record since Vietnam has been the US military’s overwhelmingly conventional approach—which favors kinetic operations, highly mobile precision firepower, and sophisticated systems of command and control. Here, Warren argues that the more formidable obstacle to success has been pervasive strategic ineptitude at the highest levels of Washington, including the executive branch, congress, and the national security council responsible for shaping US foreign policy. Time and time again, American presidents have committed military forces to operations in foreign countries whose politics and cultures they did not fully understand. Presidents of both political parties, including Kennedy, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Obama have overestimated the capacity of US forces to alter the social and political landscape of foreign nations, and underestimated the ability of insurgents and terrorists to develop strategies that draw out conflict and wage effective propaganda campaigns to curtail Washington’s will to carry on the fight. Warren concludes the book by advocating for a less hubristic foreign policy and a broader conception of warfare as a political and military enterprise.

For readers of political, military, and US history—as well as anyone interested in international relations and geopolitical strategy—this book offers unparalleled insights into America’s prior—and potentially future—military conflicts.

Author Biography

James A. Warren is a historian and foreign policy analyst. A regular contributor to The Daily Beast, he is the author of God, War, and Providence: The Epic Struggle of Roger Williams and the Narragansett Indians against the Puritans of New EnglandAmerican Spartans: The US Marines: A Combat History from Iwo Jima to Iraq; and The Lions of Iwo Jima: The Story of Combat Team 28 and the Bloodiest Battle in Marine Corps History (with Major General Fred Haynes, USMC-RET), among other books. For many years, Warren was an acquisitions editor at Columbia University Press, and more recently a visiting scholar in American Studies at Brown University. He lives in Saunderstown, Rhode Island.

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